Preparing to Retire? Let's Get to Work!

Eligibility Requirements

An employee is eligible for full retirement benefits when they have attained the age of 59½ and have a minimum of ten consecutive years of full-time, benefits eligible service immediately before retiring.

To plan for retirement, consider at what age you would like to retire and how many years of service you will have by that time. You may want to consult your financial planner, estate planner, tax attorney or a certified public accountant to assist you in planning for your retirement.

In order to receive benefits in a timely manner, start the process well before your retirement date. No two retirements are the same. Each person has their own unique situation.

Consideration: Returning to Work After Retirement

If you are retired from Washington and Lee University, age 65 or older, or the spouse of a retired employee and are considering returning to work at the University in a full, part-time, or casual position after retirement, please read the following carefully:

Under the TIAA HRA and TIAA RHP retiree health plan and PPACA guidelines, your retiree health account (and your spouse's account, if eligible) must be suspended for a minimum of one month, or the duration of your employment should you be placed on the University's payroll. For the purposes of the University funded retiree health plans, returning to work in any capacity, revokes your retiree status for the period of time you are working. You will NOT lose the funds in your retiree health account. Claims access is suspended, however, once you are no longer employed by the University, your retiree status is returned to your retiree health account and it will be reactivated. This suspension action does/will not apply if you are working other employers outside of Washington and Lee University.

Health Insurance After Retirement

If an employee has ten or more years of service in a full-time benefit-eligible position, they may retire as early as age 59½, and continue participation in the group health insurance plan until age 65, at which time Medicare coverage begins.

Assuming the employee meets the qualifications, the University's retiree health benefit that is in effect at that time will then be available at age 65. Retiree health insurance benefits are determined by date of hire. The University will continue to provide a 75% contribution to the employee and spouse/family health insurance premiums.

Social Security recipients and their spouses are eligible at age 65 for Medicare health insurance.

Retirement Timeline

As Soon As You Decide to Retire

You should notify Human Resources, your supervisor and department head in writing of your intentions to retire as soon as you have make the decision to retire. This will allow ample time to prepare yourself for your day of celebration and allow your department time to plan for staffing when you leave.

  • Manager of Retiree Benefits and Employee Benefits Specialist
    Jason Bunn
    (540) 458-8923

At Least 4-6 Months Before Retirement

Speak to your financial advisor(s) about your projected retirement income and a distribution schedule that will fit your needs, wants, and nice to haves.

  • Fidelity: 800.343.0860
  • TIAA: 800.842.2776
    • Schedule an appointment: 800-842-2252
    • Access W&L specific data on the TIAA website
  • CAPTRUST is an independent investment advisory firm, and the financial counselors provide professional, unbiased investment advice. Best of all - the service is offered to you at no charge! When you work with CAPTRUST, they will create for you a Retirement Blueprint, a comprehensive planning tool tailored to your individual needs and retirement goals. To make an appointment, go to or call CAPTRUST directly at 800-967-9948.

Three Months Before Retirement

Contact Social Security

If you are planning to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits upon your retirement, you need to contact Social Security. You may call them directly to schedule a phone interview, visit the Roanoke Social Security office in person, or apply for benefits online at:

My Social Security: 1-800-772-1213

The mandatory Social Security tax (FICA) deducted from an employee's paycheck is matched by the University.

  • Link: Social Security Frequently Asked Questions
  • Allows you to order a replacement Social Security card
  • Allows you to submit a change of address
  • Allows you to change the account for deposit of your Social Security Retirement benefit
  • Allows you to print a summary of your annual Social Security Retirement benefit amount
  • Allows you to print any Social Security notice you have received by mail

Remember to keep a record of your account Username and Password! You might want to share this information with a family member who can access important information on your behalf.

Sign up for Medicare Part B (and A if you have not done this already)

If you are age 65 or older, you will need to enroll in Medicare Part A & B to be effective on the first of the month following your retirement date. Enrollment can be done when you apply for Social Security.

Medicare coverage is divided into PARTS.

Below are some resources to help you understand the PARTS of Medicare:

How much does Part B cost?

The standard Part B monthly premium amount in 2022 is $170.10. Most people pay the standard Part B premium amount. If your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above the outlined threshold you will pay the standard premium amount + an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). IRMAA is an extra charge added to your premium.

How your income bracket (two years ago) effects your current Part B Premium:

My Medicare: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

  • Allows you to review what coverage you have
  • Allows you to order a replacement Medicare card
  • Allows you to submit a change of address
  • Allows you to see which charges have been submitted to Medicare for payment, and when they were paid, including for prescription medications.

Remember to keep a record of your account Username and Password! You might want to share this information with a family member who can access important information on your behalf.

Two Months Before Retirement

Appeal to Social Security (OPTIONAL)

Your Part B Premiums are based on your income two years ago. Once your Social Security Summary arrives it will show what your Part B Premiums will be. You may wish to appeal to Social Security to have your case reviewed since your income will have reduced significantly due to your retirement. You will use your termination paperwork to prove a change in income status.

Social Security Appeals Process:

Purchase a Medicare Supplement Plan Policy (also called Medigap)

A Medicare Supplement Plan will help to cover expenses that are not covered by Medicare. Depending on the plan you choose, this could include coverage for Medicare Part A and B deductibles and coinsurance payments. Once you have your Medicare Card with Part B Coverage, you can contact your local insurance agent, shop an exchange, or purchase directly from insurance companies. 

Medicare Supplements are divided into PLANS.

A Plan G is a Plan G is a Plan G - no matter which company you choose to purchase from, a Plan G will cover all the same expenses. The only thing that will be different is your premiums.

Switching plans years down the road can cause you to go into medical underwriting. Medical underwriting allows insurance companies to put contingencies in your coverage for pre-existing conditions and can increase your premiums.

Choose a Supplement Plan that you will keep for the rest of your life.

Medigap Benefits Chart

2020 Update-Closed to new members2020 Update-Closed to new members
Medicare Part A Coinsurance & Hospital Costs (covered for an additional 365 days after Medicare benefits are depleted.) 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Medicare Part B Coinsurance & Copayment 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% 75% 100% 100%
First 3 Pints of Blood 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% 75% 100% 100%
Part A Hospice Care Coinsurance or Copayment 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% 75% 100% 100%
Skilled Nursing Facility Coinsurance X X 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% 75% 100% 100%
Medicare Part A Deductible X 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% 75% 50% 100%
Medicare Part B Deductible X X 100% X 100% X X X X X
Medicare Part B Express Charges X X X X 100% 100% X X X X
Foreign Travel Emergency (up to plan limits) X X 80% 80% 80% 80% X X 80% 80%
Out-of-Pocket Limit None None None None None None $6,220 $3,110 None None

Enrolling in Part D Drug Coverage

It is required that you have prescription drug coverage.

Compare and Enroll in Part D Drug Plans.
You will need to have a list of your current medications with dosages and your Medicare card to complete this process. You and your spouse can have different plans.

Choose a Part D Drug Coverage Plan based on your current needs.

Instructions on how to compare drug plans here.

You will review your drug coverage EVERY YEAR during Medicare Open Enrollment (Oct 15-Dec 7). Plans change their premiums, deductibles, and re-evaluate their individual drug tiers, all of which can significantly affect your out of pocket expense.